Writer: StevieG Col U
Date:Tuesday February 24 2009
Weston Homes Community Stadium
24/02/2009 - 19:45
A HARD-FOUGHT performance saw Colchester gain three points in a narrow 1-0 win over Stockport.
The goal came from an unlikely source, with Marc Tierney netting his first goals in U`s colours, which proved decisive. Paul Lambert`s men put in a battling display against a resilient County team.
The U`s chief made a change in formation, from Saturday`s defeat to Southend, adopting a 4-5-1 shape, which turned to a 4-3-3 when attacking, rather than the usual 4-4-2.
Defender Paul Reid returned from suspension, replacing Matt Heath in the U`s back-line, and tricky winger Simon Hackney made his first start since signing, with Scott Vernon dropping out.
In a lively start to the game, Clive Platt was shown a yellow card for a tackle Johnny Mullins after eight minutes.
Shortly later, following good play from Platt and Mark Yeates, Hackney found David Perkins and the diminutive midfielder forced a fine one-handed save from Owain Fon Williams.
Minutes later Yeates it was this time who went close, arrowing a long-range shot over the bar from Kem Izzet`s lay-off.
The home side were rewarded for their bright start and broke the deadlock on 19 minutes, after moving the ball around well, Izzet found some space on the right-hand side and lofted in a pin-point cross. U`s left-back Tierney, who had made a determined run forward, met it with a header which went in off the underside of the bar.
County came close to getting level almost instantly but U`s stopper Jimmy Walker brilliantly tipped a powerful Mullins header onto the bar, and the rebound was put wide.
Perkins came close to putting Colchester further ahead but, following neat foot-work on the angle of the penalty area, lifted his shot just over the bar.
Just past the half-hour mark Platt did well to find Hackney on the left-hand touchline and the former came within whiskers of connecting with his low cross.
Yeates was next to come close, with Fon Williams blocking well from the Irishman.
With half-time approaching, Yeates it was again who threatened, this time he curled a long-range effort just wide of the upright.
Up the other end Hatters loanee Chris O'Grady turned Pat Baldwin, only for Walker to bravely punch the ball away from the striker`s feet, to preserves the U`s lead going into the break.
County made two changes in the break, with Matty Mainwaring and Oli Johnson coming on in a bid to get back into the game.
With the second-half still young Hackney had Fon Williams scrambling across his goal, after the winger`s low drive deflected just wide. Two corner-kicks followed and U`s centre-half Paul Reid volleyed over from the second, after the ball bounced difficultly.
Moments later Perkins fed the ball to Hackney and his cross was met by Yeates, but the winger failed to connect truly with his head.
After a quiet spell in the game, Perkins found space between the midfield and back four, but his effort cleared the bar.
On seventy minutes Lambert made his first change, with the impressive Hackney giving way, due to a tight calf, to Anthony Wordsworth. Five minutes later Vernon took over striking duties from Platt, who worked hard throughout.
With just over five minutes of the game remaining, Izzet did well to fool a County defender but placed his shot wide when he perhaps should have done better.
The U`s were nearly caught out on the break as Matty McNeil skipped past a number of challenges, only for Baldwin to clear at a vital time.
And Lambert`s side managed to hold on to all three points, in a terrific team performance.
U's: Walker, Maybury, Baldwin, Reid, Tierney, Perkins, Hammond, Izzet, Hackney (Vernon), Yeates (Coyne), Platt (Wordsworth)
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